Cepsa Química supplies Unilever with the world’s first renewable surfactant and paves the way for circular chemistry

Cepsa Química has supplied Unilever, a leading manufacturer of consumer goods, with NextLab linear alkylbenzene (LAB), a new range of sustainable products which includes renewable and recycled raw materials. This marks a milestone in circular chemistry as the linear NextLab is manufactured using green carbon derived from biomass, instead of fossil fuels that the industry has so far used to manufacture cleaning and home care products.

Cepsa Química uses an approach of “mass balance” to create linear NextLab. Through mass balance, traditional sources of black carbon are mixed and co-processed with those of plant origin, known as green carbon. Subsequently, a monitoring throughout the entire production process to ensure that an adequate volume of green carbon content is in the final LAS surfactant.

Making surfactants in this way is not only the most viable short-term alternative to purely fossil carbon-derived products, it also is a vital step in the shift from petrochemicals to raw materials renewable.

Unilever thus becomes the first company in the world to use the linear NextLab (LAB), which incorporates biomass of certified origin, resulting in a LAB surfactant that is identical in properties and performance to traditional surfactants. The company will use Linear NextLab (LAB) to manufacture Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonate (LAS), the world’s largest volume synthetic surfactant and its key feedstock for brands such as Persil, Cif and Sunlight.

Surfactants are essential in the manufacture of cleaning products. However, all LAS surfactant today is made from fossil fuels. Using a LAB made from renewable biomass to produce LAS is not only a more sustainable way of producing this raw material, but alsoHelps reduce the carbon footprint of final products.

The road to a circular chemistry

Today, 85% of global carbon demand in the chemical and derived materials sector continues to be met by black carbon, which comes from fossil fuels. By offering renewable and recycled alternatives, Cepsa Química paves the way for a circular chemical industry, while directly impacting the planet, both in its own production process and that of its buyers.

Unilever’s Home Care business announced last year that will replace 100% of the carbon derived from black sources in its formulations of cleaning and laundrywith renewable or recycled carbon, a strategy illustrated in its Carbon Rainbow model.

As the chemicals used in Unilever’s cleaning and laundry products make up the largest proportion of its carbon footprint (46%) throughout its life cycle, pioneering the use of innovative new chemicals, made with renewable raw materials, will allow the business unlock new ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your products. The inclusion of NextLab Linear in formulations will not change the performance of products that consumers know and trust.

With NextLab, Cepsa Química reinforces its commitment to accompanying its customers in the development of increasingly sustainable and environmentally friendly products.

About Cepsa Chemical

Cepsa Química is the world benchmark in its sector and leads the shift towards sustainable chemistry where it maintains a clear commitment to the Fight against him climate change and the transition to a circular and non-fossil economy.

The company is a world leader in the production of LAB, the main raw material used in biodegradable detergents. Likewise, it is number one in the production of cumene, an intermediate product used in the production of phenol and acetone, which constitute the main raw material for the manufacture of engineering plastics and of which it is the second largest producer in the world. Cepsa Química currently has more than 800 employees and has plants in seven countries around the world (Spain, Germany, Brazil, Canada, China, Indonesia and Nigeria).

About Cepsa

Cepsa is a leading international company committed to sustainable mobility and energy with solid technical experience after more than 90 years of activity. The company also has a leading chemical business worldwide with an increasingly sustainable activity.

Cepsa has presented in 2022 its new strategic plan for 2030, Positive Motion, which projects its ambition to be a leader in sustainable mobility, biofuels and green hydrogen in Spain and Portugal, and to become a benchmark in the energy transition. The company places customers at the center of its activity and will work with them to help them advance their decarbonization goals.

ESG criteria inspire everything Cepsa does to move towards its Net Positive goal. In this decade, will reduce its scope 1 and 2 CO2 emissions by 55%and between 15% and 20%, those of scope 3with the goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.